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tv   [untitled]    May 29, 2012 9:30am-10:00am PDT

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when i read this, i read windows in all habitable rooms, which now become a crazy. but now that i hear the reasons for why we want to change this code, to have adjoining rooms share some might from a room next door -- share sunlight from a room next door, if that is the case, the code is clear and allows for that. why are we changing this? if you look at section 1205.2.1, there is a section that deals with adjoining spaces. why can't we just use that? i think the design experts should know how to use that and say, we can share sunlight from this adjoining room. i do not think we need to eliminate this from the code. brecht's -- >> may ask mr.
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o'connor to come to the microphone for a second? obviously, we do not have staff here to address. with the buildings under appeal on this, what size building? rex a larger type construction. >> was a high rise? >> no, it would be me -- and it dries. -- it would be a midrise. above the fourth floor it does not require egress windows. staff can correct me if i'm wrong on that. gregg's and in regard to the light -- >> and in regard to the light eliminated? >> the building code is quite clear in section 1205.2.1 where
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you are like from next door. it has a specific section. the room is not dark. it is borrowing like. it just does not have lighting for exterior gazing. gregg's it is in direct light? >> yes. >> i'm confused about the interpretation and why it was denied. i see clearly that it says by means of exterior glazed openings, but bennett said in section 1205.2 which then has section 1205.2.1 that allows for natural light to come in from adjoining spaces. my question is, how did we interpret it? did we interpreted to not allow that? >> in this section 1205.2.1 is
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stated habitable rooms within a dwelling unit will be provided means of natural light. basically, the san francisco building code became more restrictive than the building -- the state building code to say that rooms have to have a natural policing. -- glazing. >> the code advisory committee voted to oppose this? cracks that is correct. >> -- >> that is correct. brecht's and that is important because they advise us on these types of things -- >> and that is important because they advise us on these types of things. i would suggest that we take this under consideration.
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and my assumption is only four existing buildings, or new construction as well? >> new construction. again, what a lot of the code advisory committee talked about was maybe single-family houses in the sunset and the neighborhoods, that they would have natural light in the bedrooms. >> my point is there's a lot of confusion about this and there is a lot of differing opinion. i think it might be a situation where we actually put together a group of people from our department, planning, department of environment, and the community to actually come forward with a recommendation that addresses the issue. i think it makes more sense in existing buildings and new construction -- a van in new construction, but -- it makes more sense in existing buildings than in new construction. but at this point i do not think
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we need to vote on it. >> since 2002, we have been working with the 2002 udc code. this has been effective since 2002. and everything that has applied for a permit since 2002 can use this section. it is only those who apply after 2011 that cannot. it has to have windows. gregg's i hear you. brecht's thank you, mr. conner. -- >> i hear you. >> thank you mr. connor. commissioners, do you feel that we need to continue? >> if you like. >> at this point, based on what commissioner walker said, there needs to be more discussion on this. i want to be clear on this. this would go back to the code advisory, is that correct? >> maybe we could get some staff in place and then make a recommendation through the code advisory and then us. gregg's we could have staff and
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the code advisory committee -- >> we could have staff and the code advisory committee present at the next meeting. and may be resolved it because they voted against it. >> i also like to ask how many projects that want to get this rule deleted? other projects are designed without this exemption. information on that. -- >> i would have to get you information on that. >> i would think we ought to have more input from coded by three. when i first -- code advisory. when i first read this, i thought it was old warehouses
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that were converted into live and work spaces. a lot of those places became more live band work. -- live than work. i think one of the issues is zoning. i would like to get something put in planning, how they looked at it, too. >> for the next meeting and if the staff could give us a report on that then, that we will have a discussion. is it just staff? bourdy want someone from the planning department as well? brecht's -- or do you want someone from the planning department as well? >> yes. >> i can help a little bit with the process. the san francisco building code provides that all code amendments are initiated by the
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director based on input from various sources rather than the code advisory committee, the board of examiners. it is fairly open in its process. it has been established that the code changes that the director puts forward go through a particular process with the structure advisory committee and the code advisory committee, and there are other steps. and eventually, it goes back to the building inspection commission for a hearing under the charter that is all that is required. -- for a hearing. under the charter that is all that is required. you're not required to take action. and did you do take action or not, that will depend on if it goes forward to the board of supervisors. cracks the director is responsible for implementing -- >> the director is responsible for implementing a code change.
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>> that is correct. gregg's -- >> has there been a proposal from you to change it? >> no, but i can take direction from the commission to take it to the code advisory committee. >> that is correct. if they want to in cent or initiate something, they can make a request that the director consider code amendments. then it would go through the process. >> my preference would be to address this when and if the director feels is appropriate and if you get more information from the relevant departments as to this particular issue. i would like to see an answer to the question of how often it happens, when is it needed, what are the consequences, what is the downside to doing this? i am concerned about people in
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high density situations having access to help the air. i have been in residential areas and hotels downtown that have -- that do not have it and it affects people's lives. you've got to create habitation that makes people healthy and keep people healthy. i'm not sure i even want it done. i'm not sure i would vote to direct youtube. >> i can certainly find out the background on this particular code change because every code change has to have some kind of comment through the code advisory committee and testimony through the code advisory committee, even the subcommittees. i can find out the background before this denial letter. i can bring that to you. >> great. >> that is discussed and we will take this on at the next meeting then. next item.
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>> are we going back to no. 5? >> yes. correct item number five, a general update from the litigation committee on the process of dealing with outstanding cases. >> i believe i'm going to be doing -- as a member of the litigation committee, just a brief overview of what we do as the litigation committee. and then an update on where we are standing with a response to the submission of the request from commissioner melgarde. the litigation commission consists of three commissioners. is president lynch, myself, and mccarthy. we have code enforcement effort through our building department where we try to ensure that all
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folks doing work and providing housing for tenants in san francisco are applying the building code. when it happens that people are not, either in the case of blighted properties, complaints from neighbors about apparent code violations on the exterior of the building, or tenants within the building, we actually issue notice of violation and we, as a department, go out and say that you have to resolve the issue. there is an extensive process within the department that allows our staff to work with these folks with these violations to fix them and resolve them, which is our goal. it goes through a process that would be the directors hearing where the director determines to
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support staff decision or make alteration and ultimately, it gives the opportunity for the project sponsor to resolve the issues. if they are not happy with that, they can appeal to our abatement appeals body, which is our commission, to ask us to resolve some of those issues. the litigation committee deals directly with those problems that do not get resolved through our process. when the director has asked a project to chair the notice of violation, when we have gone to the staff and said you must resolve this situation, if that person still does not resolve
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the situation, then the staff will bring a project to the committee to assess and to agree on whether or not we take legal action. by the time it gets to litigation, there may already be a lean on the property through our process of the directors hearing, or not. but this gives us the ability to file a lawsuit to help resolve the situation, resolving the violation on the property. the goal of which is to create health and safety, safe housing for people living in housing and the tenants. the litigation meets every couple of months to look at the cases brought forward by either the housing position to look at the various issues in there, mechanical, electrical,
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plumbing. we discuss whether or not to refer the cases over to the city attorney. and then when we do that, the city attorney and as a letter saying, we will see you if you do not -- does send a letter saying, we will sue you if you do not handle the violation. this starts the case moving forward. or we can say that as a mitigation committee we would like to see more actions before we do that. we also have a pretty extensive coding forsman partner with some nonprofits in the area that -- code enforcement partner with some nonprofits in the area that go in and communicate with the landlord or the tenant to help us resolve these issues without having to litigate.
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nonetheless, we still have cases that are referred and are ongoing and that our department is trying to resolve the outstanding notice of violation. we meet every couple of months. we get an update on all of our open cases for the city attorney. we also review potential renewed actions from the various staff members. we have been going over briefly our report. we meet in closed session, as we are allowed to do and required to do when the city is considering any action against somebody. back remains a private, closed- session item -- that remains a
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private, closed-session item. therefore is that i went over, just to give a ballpark number in a number of cases, we have roughly 80 cases that are open and outstanding. we have a settlement. we have a court decision. there might actually be an actual dollar amount attached to those, or we may be in the process of getting that. and we have roughly 80 cases open, like i said. as much as we know, these reflect about $6 million in actual dollar amounts that have been determined by the courts already that's -- that are owed to us. that is not to say that we always get that, because in some of these cases, the bank owns it or we do not know who owns it, or somebody may be in bankruptcy and we have to reduce the amount
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we are given. but as to the dollar amounts settlements that we know of out of these eight cases, it is of little over $6 million. -- 80 cases, it is a little over $6 million. 40 cases have yet to be determined as to the amount owed. what we did it this last meeting in order to respond to the request from the commissioner is to ask the city attorney to present to us in a form that we can share with the commission to list a brief description of what it is, and the status of these cases. and of the $6 million, let me
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also say that it is split between the different departments that are included in the action. for instance, it is not necessarily just a building code violation that we are litigating about. it may be a planning issue. and it may be something that they are adding to us. do you want to come talk about anything that i may have lost over? >> we have been keeping track on a yearly basis how much we have put out per case and how much we have received per case. i have to tell you, as
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commissioner walker mentioned, there is a provision in the business professionals code that requires a certain amount to be retained by the city attorney's office to prosecute or a dress code violation issues. -- to address code violation issues. that is not something we can change. i think it is state law. i do not think it can be changed by the city itself. the second issue is that we do not -- the chances of us receiving a judgment on any case -- you know, on a specific case. the chance of it is an exception to the case.
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the springs are very problematic -- these things are very problematic. to whatever extent the money we finally get this posted to our account, there is a lot between the expenses and the revenue. in addition to that, even though you think the city attorney's office is huge, they have a small finance group. i have asked in the past -- the managing attorney who takes care of the office, if we could get a better idea of what is out there per case. i have not received that. there are probably various reasons. the size of their finance area.
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i do have some statistics that i can share. in the meeting that can be attached to its -- in the meeting that can be attached to it is a suspect. what this shows -- the other thing is a lot of the information regarding the case is confidential. based on the city attorney. i could not get to the hall commission -- i could provided to the litigation committee -- what we are getting build on each of these cases. the spreadsheet is bigger than me.
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the effort that is going into the case -- you know how much the assistant and the city attorney and if they have some miscellaneous expenses, is posted at any given year. but you do not really know -- it does not tell you whether we are close to resolution or not. that is information provided to the city attorney's office. we looked at 2006-2007 to 2010- 200011. all the revenues we received is that the end of the year now. it is usually july or august of the next year.
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this includes all the cost to the city attorney's office. phone calls that may be related to getting general advice or specific advice on a case -- >> even if we called john to ask a question about our job as a commission, that is included in the building? it is not just related -- >> they are an outside entity or even an insight into the cause the city attorney's office based on our case. -- or even an inside entity called the city attorney's office based on our case. they basically -- part of it
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was the budget situation. we are starting to get to revenues coming in, which are greater than the expenses. some cases are ramping up. the money has been received. i do receive information on a monthly basis. it is usually at the end of the year. how much money we are getting. in some cases, i know how much is going to each of the entities. i do not know what they do with it, but i have to trust that other departments are doing
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their job. the money is not supposed to be used for a general fund the issue. again, that is another department, other than me. the second thing is that we do, you know, remain at a vigil on -- in terms of making sure that something is being done on these cases. that is being ramped up. i had to miss a couple of meetings. not only is the pressure on to start certain cases, but it is to resolve and pushe. in many cases, these people are
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bankrupt. they do not have anything. there are all sorts of reasons that their property -- it is not being handled early on in the process. i think there is always an amount that you put out to take care of these, and never get anything back. commissioner walker, you have been on the litigation committee. i think we are putting more pressure to have things resolved. >> on the number of cases, many of these have multiple property units. you have a situation where there is a landlord that has continuous problems in all their different properties. what we do is take the time to package them. there are a couple of instances
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where they are big cases because they include a lot of different properties with all the same problems. i have asked, too, over and over again if we could get a more sustained listing of the moneys we are spending versus the work that is being done in a more comprehensive way. i have gotten a commitment from the city attorney's office to provide that. hopefully, it will be able to address the commissioner's questions and advice the commissioners on a regular basis better not on the litigation committee as to what we are doing. -- that are not on the litigation committee as to what we are doing. >> i have a quick question. those 80 cases, what is the
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split between the violations in housing, building it? >> they are usually mixed. sometimes they're brought forward by housing, but they include building code violations. especially in the residential, the big buildings, it is the housing inspectors that find it. decaying stairwells, when does the need to be replaced -- when does that need to be replaced. in one case, there was a foundation that needed to be removed. it is usually amax. >> thank you. -- it is usually a mix. >> thank you. i really appreciate the overview of for the litigation committee is. and its relationship with the city attorney.